Speed Up Your Mac
From Wired How-To Wiki
Despite your best efforts, your Mac is running a bit slow. Hard disk space is filling up fast and applications are getting sluggish. Don't worry too much, it happens to everyone.
While there is no definitive cure-all for making your machine as good (and as fast) as day one, there are some basic things you can do that might help reclaim disk space, remove some clutter and generally speed up your Mac.
Take Stock of Your Hardware
Before you get started, keep in mind that none of these tips will change your aging G4 iMac into an Intel Quad-core speed machine. One of the best ways to speed up any aging computer is upgrade the hardware, so invest in a larger hard drive or more RAM if you want to make an old machine feel younger and more agile.
In the past, the case design of many Macs made it very complicated to upgrade the hard drive. Most of the more recent models are much easier to upgrade, particularly with regards to memory. Some machines, such as the Mac Mini, adding memory or a new hard drive amounts to performing the equivalent of open-heart surgery. Best to have a pro do it. Replacing the hard drive is also quite easy in the G4 and G5 iMacs without the iSight built-in, on the regular Macbooks, and on the tower Macs (Power Mac and Mac Pro) For most new Apple computers, you should be able to add more RAM or a hard drive without too much trouble.
Consult your user manual or a trusted supplier to make sure you're buying the right parts for the job. Most web shops have a browser-based tool for determining the RAM modules and hard drives that will work with your machine.
Another essential step before we get down to specifics is to run Software Update and make sure that you have the latest version of OS X and other Apple-supplied applications installed.
Recover Hard Disk space
When your hard drive gets too full drive (and by full, we mean past the 90% mark) it can slow down your Mac considerably. But don't start deleting your precious family photo albums -- here are a few things you may not know about that eat up space on your Mac drive.
- Take a hard look at your applications folder. Do you really need all those shareware apps you aren't using? If not, get rid of them and free up a little space.
- Delete unused language packs. You probably aren't using the Farsi language localizations on your machine. Even if you are, then you can probably still get rid of French or German. Check out the freeware app Monolingual which makes getting rid of unused language files a snap.
- Know what you're storing. Download Disk Inventory X (alternatives: Grand Perspective or Where's The Free Space), which will give you a nice graphical overview of what is using space on your drive. If it is indeed those precious family photos, consider moving them off to a USB or Firewire external drive. Or burn them to DVDs.
If you still have a question: how to speed your mac just go and see through!
Speed Up Slow Applications
When most people complain about their Mac being slow, they're usually referring to the applications running on their Mac. Here are a few common culprits.
- Safari -- Safari is fast and lightweight, but it can get bogged down if your browsing history is excessively large or if Safari is storing a ton of Autofill entries. One easy way to reset nearly everything at once is to select Safari > Reset Safari in the application menu, which will clear all your caches.
- Dashboard -- Dashboard widgets are handy tools, but they eat up RAM -- sometimes even when you aren't using them. This leaves less RAM available for the applications you actually are using. Head into your Applications Folder, select the Utilities Folder and look for Activity Monitor. Activity monitor is a great way to see what applications are using the most memory. If you see a lot of Dashboard widgets high up on the list, consider disabling them.
- Firefox -- If you're using versions 2.x or 1.x of Mozilla Firefox, you've probably noticed that the browser tends to take it's sweet time after it's been running for a while. Try uninstalling any unnecessary extensions. Reducing the add-ons you're running to about 3 or 4 will speed up most installations. Your best bet is switching to the latest version of Firefox 3.5, which shows substantial speed improvements over its predecessors.
- Universal binaries -- If you're using an Intel Mac, make sure that all your applications are universal binaries. Older software compiled to run on PowerPC machines will be noticeably slower on Intel machines. If there's an upgrade available, download it and run it instead.
General System Tips
- Clean Out Your Startup Items -- If your Mac is slow starting up, open your System Preferences and click accounts. Select your username and see what's listed in the startup items. Sometime applications will inject themselves here without asking (or even if they asked, you may not want them anymore). Getting rid of some startup items can speed up your boot time.
- Clean Up Your Desktop -- If your desktop is covered with dozens or even hundreds of icons, you may see your performance suffer. Mac OS X treats each desktop icon as its own window, which incurs a small memory hit. For most people this won't be an issue, but if you have hundreds of icons, it might help to move them off to another location.
- Fonts -- although they won't produce a huge performance gain, getting rid of any corrupt fonts will make your Mac more stable. Open up Font Book, select all the fonts in the Font list and choose File >> Validate Fonts. Font Book will open a new window with icons to show font's status. If a font is corrupt, select it and click on the Remove Checked button. Font Book can't actually repair corrupt fonts, for that you'll need a commercial utility like FontAgent Pro ($100).
Things that Won't Help No Matter What the 'Pros' in Forums Tell You
- Repairing File Permissions -- The uneducated Mac user's favorite cure-all, which in fact does next to nothing. Unless you're having problems logging in or using certain system files, this won't do anything for you. It certainly won't speed up your Mac.
- Speed up Safari by reducing the "page load delay" -- Lead Safari programmer David Hyatt says, "the preference in question is dead and does absolutely nothing in Safari." Trust him, he created it.
Open Safari's preferences file at ~/Library -> Preferences -> com.apple.Safari.plist in a text editor and add these two lines somewhere inside the <dict> tag:
How to Make a Mac Run Faster
John Ford is a Fort Lauderdale, FL native with a background in Broadcasting, Print & New Media. A Recognized expert in Broadcasting & Creative Services with stints at the ABC Radio Networks and as VP of New Media for Sabo Media. A respected writer for Parade Magazine & National Geographic. Webmaster, Apple Certified Support Professional and a published singer/songwriter
Everyone wants a faster computer, with snappier applications and quicker start-up time, and it doesn't feel as if your Mac is running on molasses. There are a number of steps you can take to make your Mac run faster and more efficiently without spending a lot of time and money.
Things You'll Need
- Mac OS X
- Disk utility
The best way to make your Mac run faster is to add more RAM (random-access memory) to your machine. Mac OS X needs a minimum of 2 gigabytes of RAM to run smoothly, with 3 gigabytes recommended. Mac OS X is a modern Unix-based, graphic-intensive operating system. Adding more RAM to your machine will instantly speed up every operation on your Mac.
Remove unnecessary start-up applications from your Mac Login Items. To find out what applications are in your start-up items, click on the "Apple Menu" and navigate to "Apple Menu" > "System Preferences" > "Accounts" > "Login Items." To remove unnecessary or old start-up items, click on the item name and then hit the "minus" button below the list. One word of warning: Make sure you know what you're removing, or you may remove a critical system or application function.
Remove any unnecessary "Dashboard Widgets," as they can consume both critical processor and RAM resources even when you're not viewing them. Widgets that access the Internet to update information are especially RAM and resource hungry, as they are constantly performing updates even when the Dashboard is not active. To remove them, launch the "Dashboard Widget" screen (F-12 on most Macs), and click the "+" button at the bottom-left of the screen. Click the "x" sign next to the Widget to make it inactive.
Freeing up space on your hard drive will help your Mac run faster. Your Mac uses a section of its hard drive as a "swap" or "virtual memory" partition for memory usage, especially when you are viewing large media and multimedia files. Keeping at least one-third of your hard drive free will dramatically improve your Mac's speed. Back up your large files on an external USB or Firewire drive and empty your trash often to see your Mac's speed improve.
Check and fix your Mac's internal hard disk preferences at least once a month. Launch your Apple Disk Utilities, located in "Applications" > "Utilities" > "Disk Utilities." Double-click "Disk Utilities" to launch the application, select your internal hard drive in the left-hand column and click "Repair Permissions." The permissions repair will take from 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your hard drive.
Only launch as many applications as you need at one time. The more applications you have running at the same time, the more RAM and system resources those applications will consume. You will notice that as more applications are running, your Mac will behave in a more sluggish manner. Give your RAM and processor some breathing room: Launch only the applications you need and quit the ones you're not using before you launch more active applications.Read more: How to Make a Mac Run Faster | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4840149_make-mac-run-faster.html#ixzz1kOWr5esx
Make My Mac Run Faster – Start Up Tips
try repairing permissions and disk. Also install a program called onyx and Yasu and Applejack - run it once every 2-3 weeks.
disable spotlight & install "Namely" instead. you will see a big difference
I just got Onyx yesterday and after repairing permissions etc, it has cut my boot up time by about 5-10 seconds Love it!
I should mention that putting the computer in sleep mode is OK since that preserves the contents of memory. The only time I ever restart my MBP is when it crashes or when I am installing updates.
... and waking from sleep takes only a couple of seconds. Not having to relaunch everything you had open speeds things up too.
Don't shut it downSeriously though, Macs have had an amazingly reliable sleep mode for years and years; most switchers don't take advantage of it. It's true that sleep does still use up the battery, but it's only at a rate of a few percent a day. I just put my PowerBook G4 to sleep when I'm done with it, and carrying it around campus all day, it'll lose maybe 1-2 percent of its charge while sleeping. The Intels are not quite as great, but they're only in the range of 5-6 percent a day. Seriously, give it a try; a two-second wake up beats even an unreachable 20-second startup by a factor of 10x
We’re big fans of Spotlight here at OS X Daily, but we realize it’s not everyones cup of tea. If you’re someone who dislikes Spotlight enough to want it disabled completely then this is the guide for you. What you’ll need is some basic knowledge of the command line and a command line text editor (we’ll use nano in this example, perhaps the easiest). Note that some other Mac OS X features and programs are based on Spotlight’s search abilities, therefore some applications could behave abnormally if you disable Spotlight, particularly in search functions.
- Launch Terminal and type the following:
sudo nano /etc/hostconfig
- Navigate using the arrow keys down the following entry:
- Save /etc/hostconfig by hitting Control-O and the return key, next hit Control-X to exit the nano editor
- Next, you’ll want to disable the index by typing the following in the Terminal:
mdutil -i off /
- And to erase the current Spotlight index, type:
mdutil -E /
- That’s pretty much it, on your next reboot, Spotlight will be completely disabled.
- If you want to enable Spotlight again, follow the same steps as above, but change
- and then type
mdutil -i on /in the Terminal
- Reboot, and Spotlight is back as usual
Disable Spotlight in OS X 10.5
To turn off Spotlight in Leopard, use this trick:
Move these two files to another safe location and then reboot your mac
Re-enable Spotlight by moving those files back to their original location, reboot, and Spotlight will work again.
Repair a Broken Spotlight
Is Spotlight broken and not working for you? Read our fix broken Spotlight guide.
by admin on February 27, 2009
I tend to make fun of PC people all the time who complain that their Windows-based computer takes a full baseball season just to boot up. The reason that Windows PCs take forever to start up is a multifaceted problem stemming from a slew of malware loading during the booting process and an overtaxed system registry burdened with inefficient entries. As much as Mac people would love to laugh in their faces, the reality is that the Mac operating system can be just as susceptible to the same type of behavior. This gives us poker players a lot of hassle if we’re running a slew of programs like Parallels and Windows XP or even just running Poker Copilot. We demand performance!
So what makes your Mac boot up slower and how do we improve its performance? Fortunately, this guide might give you a golden tip or two to get your machine running a little smoother.
The wonderful little toys you have plugged into your Mac will definitely bog it down. I’m not talking about your mouse and keyboard; those are fine. Your speakers are okay too. However, devices like external hard drives can really cause problems with system performance if your computer is constantly being tasked to keep it in line. Other devices that could cause problems are outdated printers, scanners, your iPod, and USB hubs. The general rule of thumb is to not have anything plugged into your Mac unless you plan on using it that day. For many, that means the scanner goes unplugged for weeks or your printer is simply turned off when you don’t plan to have anything printed in that computing session. Just try unplugging it all and rebooting; you’ll probably notice a slight improvement in the boot time of the system.
It’s also important to find out what is loading when you boot up. There’s a chance that there are “login items” (software programs that are loaded on boot) that are causing a problem and it’d be best if they simply didn’t load. To do this, go to the “Accounts” area, or simply hold the “Shift” key after you enter your user name and password at the login screen. You’ll see the “My Account” column and, to the right of that, the “Login Items” that are loading with your profile. Just pick the ones you don’t want loaded and hit the minus button to remove it. However, don’t accidentally delete something that your system desperately needs to function!
Although the Mac operating system does “uninstall” programs by wiping them from your system, with new software being released, there’s now a chance that there are “lingering” files that might be causing some problems. There are a wide variety of applications for Mac OSX that you can check out, such as AppTrap, Yank, and AppZapper. None of the programs are costly; in most cases, each one is under $15, which makes purchasing one a wise investment. You can use one of these programs to make sure that software is wiped from your Mac. I had a tricky time uninstalling a video capture utility until I used one of the apps mentioned.
Finally, there are routine disk performance “first aid” techniques that you should be performing on a regular basis. In the applications area, go to utilities and pick the “Disk Utility,” which will allow you to see all of your hard drives and perform maintenance on them. Pick the hard disk in the left column, select “First Aid” in the top right side area, and press the “Verify Disk” button. This will go through your default drive, scan it for any problems, and, in most cases, fix them right away. You can also make sure all of your hardware is running in tip-top shape by checking out the “System Profiler,” accessible from the “About This Mac” area. Click on “Hardware” in the contents column and you can verify that the hardware is correct. Sometimes if you have a bad RAM stick, an incorrect amount of RAM will display here.
Given all of these options, there shouldn’t be a problem finding some things that might have been dragging down the performance of your beloved Mac. Remember to shut down properly when you’re done and love your Mac unconditionally at all times.